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Top of the Class of 2017: Hillsborough County's valedictorians and salutatorians

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Published May 19, 2017

It's marked by three digits and a decimal point, but the GPAs of these honorees don't fully reflect their diligence and perseverance. So, we offer tribute to the vals and sals of 2017.

ACADEMY OF THE HOLY NAMES

Valedictorian

Elizabeth Dolan

Age: 18

GPA: 4.99

Parents: Tim and Marcy Dolan

College: Yale

University

Salutatorian

Kendall Victoria Bulleit

Age: 18

GPA: 4.85

Parents: Kelly and Ed Bulleit

College: University of Notre Dame

Alonso High School

Valedictorian

Emily Catherine Pich

Age: 18

GPA: 7.434

Parents: Lisa and Jon Pich

College:

University of South Florida

Salutatorian

Tatum Fischer

Age: 18

GPA: 7.315

Parents: Kirstie Heneveld

College: Clemson University

ARMWOOD HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Ky'Aura George

(Collegiate

Academy)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.73

Parents: Chudney Henderson and Anthony McClora

College: Howard University

Haley Parrish

(Traditional)

Age: 18

GPA: 6.45

Parents: Tobin Parrish and Amy Brockhausen

College: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Salutatorians

Jennifer Skinner

(Collegiate

Academy)

Age: 17

GPA: 7.68

Parents: Darrin and Julia Skinner

College: University of South Carolina

Monica Ulloa Diaz

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 6.24

Parents: Anny Diaz

College: University of South Florida

BAYSHORE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Jordan Reed

Age: 17

GPA: 6.07

Parents: Todd and Karen Reed

College: Florida Southern College

Salutatorian

Caleb Holt

Age: 17

GPA: 5.7

Parents: Julianne Holt

College: The University of Tampa

BELL CREEK ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Arianna Meekins

Age: 18

GPA: 7.07

Parents: Lizzie Sheila and Robert Meekins

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Kirsten Olekszak

Age: 18

GPA: 6.09

Parents: Stephanie Olekszak and Donald Olekszak

College: University of Florida

Blake High School

Valedictorians

Samantha Allen

(UTA)

Age: 18

GPA: 5.1

Parents: Amy and David Allen

College: University of South Florida

Merrit Lay

(Magnet)

Age: 18

GPA: 6.44

Parents: Amy Crabill Lay

College: Florida State University

Gordon Sandorf

(Traditional)

Age: 18

GPA: 5.44

Parents: Heidi and Scott Sandorf

College:

Davidson College

Salutatorians

Kiara Berrios

(UTA)

Age: 19

GPA: 5.1

Parents: Priscilla Moore and Ricky Harris

College:

University of South Florida

Skyler Cox

(Magnet)

Age: 18

GPA: 6.1

Parents: Toni and Thad Cox

College: Florida State University

Ronnie Harris

(Traditional)

Age: 19

GPA: 5.1

Parents: Priscilla Moore and Ricky Harris

College: University of South Florida

BLOOMINGDALE HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Zachary Neidig

Age: 17

GPA: 7.48

Parents: Scott and Pam Neidig

College:

University of

Central Florida

Salutatorian

Jessica Follmer

Age: 18

GPA: 7.386

Parents: Darbie and Carl Pfeiffer

College: University of South Florida

BRANDON HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Teresa Menendez

Age: 18

GPA: 6.79

Parents: Karen and Americo Menendez

College: Saint Leo University

Salutatorian

Maya Bethea

Age: 18

GPA: 6.5

Parents: Andrea and Floyd Bethea

College: University of South Florida

BROOKS DEBARTOLO COLLIEGIATE HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Haley Alexandra Spooner

Age: 17

GPA: 7.7

Parents: Kim and Ken Spooner

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Caroline Sharpless

Age: 17

GPA: 7.07

Parents: Jennifer and John Sharpless

College: Pepperdine University

CARROLLWOOD DAY SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Leah Vicencio

Age: 17

GPA: 4.87

Parents: Lisa and Ronald Vicencio

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Abriana Weissman

Age: 18

GPA: 4.85

Parents: Emily and Mark Weissman

College: University of Virginia

CAMBRIDGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Claudia Balch

Age: 18

GPA: 4.84

Parents: Brent and Angie Balch

College: University of Florida

Gabriella Badmus

Age: 17

GPA: 4.84

Parents: Marie Badmus

College: Vanderbilt University

CHAMBERLAIN HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Karl Chad McNeal

Age: 18

GPA: 7.76

Parents: Mark and Tailyn McNeal

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Allen Lopez

Age: 18

GPA: 7.46

Parents: Allan and Adriana Lopez

College: The University of Tampa

CITRUS PARK CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Cole Stanchina

Age: 18

GPA: 4.4

Parents: Ronnie and Jerry Stanchina

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Kristian James

Age: 17

GPA: 4.229

Parents: Evol and Maureen Jame

College: University of Florida

DURANT HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Brittany Jarrell

Age: 18

GPA: 7.8668

Parents: Shannon Horn, Torrey Horn and James Jarrell

College: Florida State University

Salutatorian

Sarah Rohlfsen

Age: 18

GPA: 6.9

Parents: Joanne and Todd Rohlfsen

College: Georgia Institute of Technology

EAST BAY HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Amberlyn Hauck

Age: 18

GPA: 7.921

Parents: Mindance and Troy Jones

College: University of Florida

FREEDOM HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Terry Tan

Age: 18

GPA: 7.27

Parents: Chong and Sylvia Tan

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Victoria Chin

Age: 18

GPA: 7.1420

Parents: Angela and Michael Chin

College: University of Florida

GAITHER HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Bingyue Chen

Age: 18

GPA: 7.21

Parents: Liya Li and Dechun Chen

College: New York University

Salutatorian

Tessa Melson

Age: 18

GPA: 7.02

Parents: Marina Melson and David Melson

College: University of Florida

HILLSBOROUGH HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Jakob Nicolasora

(IB)

Age: 18

GPA: 8.8

Parents: Ana Liza and Redentor Nicolasora

College: Florida State University

Bianca Pastrana

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 5.72

Parents: Katherine DeArmond and Tony Pastrana

College: University of South Florida

Salutatorians

Meghana Bhimreddy

(IB)

Age: 17

GPA: 8.4

Parents: Neeraja and Rathnakar Bhimreddy

College: Vanderbilt University

Brandon Montes

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 5.67

Parents: Rocio Matamoros and Mario Montes

College: Southeastern University

HILLSBOROUGH VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Savannah Andrews

Age: 18

GPA: 5.5018

Parents: Vicki and Keith Andrews

College: The University of Tampa

Salutatorian

Megan Christina Renne

Age: 18

GPA: 5.40

Parents: Christopher Renne

College: Enlisting in the U.S. Air Force

JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Alexandria Ariel Chen-Fraser

(Magnet)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.5

Parents: Dexter and Amoy Fraser

College: University of Florida

Erykah Jerome

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 5.78

Parents: Magalie and Erick Jerome

College: Coppin State University

Salutatorians

Sharon Michelle Simpson

(IB)

Age: 17

GPA: 6.65

Parents: Blanca and Francisco Simpson

College: Plans to enlist in the U.S.

Air Force

Zionna Wilson

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 5.76

Parents: Vanessa Flowers

College: University of South Florida

JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

William Yount

Age: 18

GPA: 4.61

Parents: Deborah Yount and Dr. Scott Yount

College:

Undecided

Salutatorians (5-way tie)

Justin Virgadamo

Age: 18

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Susan and Michael Virgadamo

College: Undecided

Hugh Hickman

Age: 18

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Kayoko and Dr. Hugh Hickman

College: University of Florida

Ben Miller

Age: 18

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Kimberly and Steven Miller

College: Undecided

Blake Motzer

Age: 17

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Mercedes and Mark Motzer

College: Undecided

Salvatore Lumia

Age: 18

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Ann Lumia, Spencer Lumia

College: University of Florida

KING HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Christina Jayaraj

(IB)

Age: 17

GPA: 8.67

Parents: Edward and Maryrose Jayaraj

College: University of Miami

Nana-Akua Ofosu

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 7.02

Parents: Naomi and Enoch Ofosu

College: Howard University

Salutatorians

Heta Patel

(IB)

Age: 17

GPA: 8.56

Parents: Nilesh and Hemisha Patel

College: University of Pennsylvania

Allison Adams

(Traditional)

Age: 18

GPA: 6.7

Parents: Robert and Stacey Adams

College: Florida State University

LENNARD HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Erin Hanson

(Collegiate

Academy)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.8

Parents: Julie Hanson

College: The University of Tampa

Taylor Checkly

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 6.68

Parents: Phillip and Tiffany Checkley

College: Barry University

Salutatorians

Brennan Rose

(Collegiate Academy)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.48

Parents: Brent Rose, Brenda Cannon and Bill Cannon

College: University of Penn sylvania

Delandsheere Jean-Philippe

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 6.4

Parents: Georges and Anide Jean-Philippe

College: University of South Florida

LETO HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Sergio Alejandro Batista

(Collegiate Academy)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.57

Parents: Javier Batista and Diusmari De La Rosa

College: University of South Florida

Anthony Fernandez

(Traditional)

GPA: 6.27

College: University of South Florida

Salutatorians

Lindsay Randolph

(Collegiate Academy)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.53

Parents: Lisa Shaw and Peter Randolph

College: Florida Atlantic University

Raul Lopez

(Traditional)

GPA: 5.79

College: University of Florida

MIDDLETON HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Varun Singh

(Magnet)

Age: 17

GPA: 9.1494

Parents: Sangita Singh

College: Harvey Mudd College

Jaqua Mack

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 5.2279

Parents: Joy Evans and Andrew Mack

College: Florida State University

Salutatorians

Paola Rioja

(Magnet)

Age: 18

GPA: 8.3918

Parents: Jesus Rioja and Ruby Sanchez

College: University of Michigan

Devin Battle

(Traditional)

Age: 18

GPA: 4.6944

Parents: Elena Abenojar

College: Whitman College

NEWSOME HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Mark Laurie

Age: 17

GPA: 7.66

Parents: Connie and Mark Laurie

College: Stanford University

Salutatorian

Ashley Valenza

Age: 17

GPA: 7.58

Parents: Ross and Denise Valenza

College: University of Florida

PLANT HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

George Highsmith Bentley

Age: 17

GPA: 7.6

Parents: A. Lee and Weatherly L. Bentley

College: Princeton University

Salutatorian

Nicholas Swaich

Age: 17

GPA: 8.0

Parents: Valeria Babitskaya and Prabhsimran Singh

College: Georgia Institute of Technology

PLANT CITY HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Monica Kumar

Age: 18

GPA: 8.029

Parents: Daljit Kumar and Balbir Kaur

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Lauren Daly

Age: 18

GPA: 7.47

Parents: Megan Woods-Daly and Michael Daly

College: Florida State University

RIVERVIEW HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Jamie Tablante

Age: 17

GPA: 7.908

Parents: Angelica and Raymund Tablante

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian

Malyssa Calarco

Age: 18

GPA: 7.6505

Parents: Michael Calarco

College: University of South Florida

ROBINSON HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Kyle Johnson

(IB)

Age: 18

GPA: 8.6

Parents: Daniel and Angela Johnson

College: Princeton University

Ngan Nguyen

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 6.31

Parents: Phuong Dang

College: University of South Florida

Salutatorians

Nicholas Fata

(IB)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.785

Parents: Jennifer and Dennis Fata

College: University of Florida

Ciara Faison

(Traditional)

Age: 17

GPA: 6.2

Parents: Elizabeth Gonzalez

College: University of South Florida

SEFFNER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

Valedictorian

Anna Elizabeth Wellen

Age: 18

GPA: 4.52

Parents: Robert and Catherine Wellen

College: University of Notre Dame

Salutatorian

Marnelli Deborah Tan

Age: 18

GPA: 4.44

Parents: Gilbert and Rhodora Tan

College: University of Florida

SICKLES HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Kristin Bach

Age: 18

GPA: 8.1886

Parents: Lelia and Judson Bach

College: University of Pennsylvania

Salutatorian

Wasana Weerasuriya

Age: 18

GPA: 7.4659

Parents: Nilmini and Sujeeva Weerasuriya

College: University of South Florida

SPOTO HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Brianna Burt

Age: 18

GPA: 6.88

Parents: Brian and Erika Burt

College: University of South Florida

Salutatorian

Jessica Beavers

Age: 18

GPA: 6.71

Parents: John and Linda Beavers

College: University of South Florida

STEINBRENNER HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Rebekah Koutereba

Age: 18

GPA: 8.28

Parents: leLainya Koutereba

College: Cornell University

Salutatorian

Bailey Zinckgraf

Age: 17

GPA: 7.4

Parents: Eric and Tiffany Zinckgraf

College: University of Florida

STRAWBERRY CREST HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Kevin Chacko

(IB)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.84

Parents: Sunil and Biji Chacko

College: University of Florida

Fatima Iyer

(Traditional)

Age: 18

GPA: 9.0

Parents: Carla Sauer-Iyer and Rama Iyer

College: Harvard Law School

Salutatorians

Keylonnie Miller

(IB)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.75

Parents: Shelley Miller

College: University of Michigan

Alanis Rosado

(Traditional)

Age: 18

GPA: 7.3

Parents: Hiram and Shirley Rosado

College: University of South Florida

TAMPA BAY TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorians

Sayyada Kazim

(Health

Academy)

Age: 18

GPA: 8.9

Parents: Husain and Sheeba Kazim

College: University of South Florida

Tarun Belani

(Technical Programs)

Age: 18

GPA: 6.4

Parents: Poonam Belani

College: University of Florida

Josia Jacob

(Academy of Architecture)

Age: 17

GPA: 6.5

Parents: Jacob Kurian and Mary Jacob

College: University of South Florida

Salutatorians

Arsany Gad

(Health

Academy)

Age: 18

GPA: 8.3

Parents: Boles Fahi Gad and Nora Willi Meawad

College: University of South Florida

Colin Castlewitz

(Technical

Programs)

Age: 18

GPA: 6.2

Parents: David Castlewitz and Iris Matsukado

College: Polytechnic University

Ryan McGregor

(Academy of Architecture)

Age: 18

GPA: 6.1

Parents: Ryan and Jennifer McGregor

College: Florida Atlantic University

TAMPA CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Daniel Luis Morejon

Age: 18

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Israel and Ana Morejon

College: University of South Florida

Salutatorian

Steven Michael Richards Jr.

Age: 17

GPA: 4.58

Parents: Steven and Debra Richards

College: Florida State University

TAMPA PREPARATORY SCHOOL

Valedictorian

Rammi Quah

Age: 18

GPA: N/A

Parents: KK Quah and Maha Sallam

College: Emory University

WHARTON HIGH SCHOOL

Valedictorian

James Cannon

Age: 17

GPA: 6.9282

Parents: Marie Cannon-Burnard and Mark Burnard

College: Vanderbilt University

Salutatorian

Disney Rattanakongkham

Age: 17

GPA: 6.703

Parents: Khamoun and Siladeth Rattanakongkham

College: Stanford University

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Transgender student Drew Adams speaks with reporters outside of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Adam's fight over school restrooms came before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High in Ponte Vedra, Fla., won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. The district has since appealed. RON HARRIS  |  AP
    The closely watched case of Drew Adams, once a high school student in Florida, is heard by a three-judge panel in Atlanta.
  2. Stephen Ailing, 54, faces a battery charge. Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    Stephen Ailing, who faces a battery charge, teaches music at Sunray Elementary in Holiday.
  3. Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco, on the left, present their latest pay request to the district's bargaining team during talks on Oct. 24, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Teachers have yet to reach a deal on their contract.
  4. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. It has met just once more since then. The Florida Channel
    Lawmakers have yet to set an aggressive agenda beyond talk of teacher pay as the 2020 legislative session nears.
  5. FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, transgender teen Drew Adams, left, leaves the U. S. Courthouse with his mother Erica Adams Kasper after the first day of his trial about bathroom rights at Nease High School, in Jacksonville, Fla. The transgender student's fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling in 2018 ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP, File) WILL DICKEY  |  AP
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. A bird's-eye view of USF St. Petersburg, which this week announced a new member of the Campus Board. She is Melissa Seixas, a Duke Energy executive who earned her master's degree at USF.
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  7. An LGBTQ Pride march participant walks under a large rainbow flag in New York earlier this year. School Board policy regarding LGBTQ students has been a frequent topic of discussion in recent months in Pasco County. CRAIG RUTTLE  |  AP
    The discourse is more civil and respectful, two weeks after a session that many deemed hate-filled and vile.
  8. The Florida Legislature so far has has left Gov. Ron DeSantis to set most education policy priorities for 2020.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. Florida Senator Tom Lee, R- Thonotosassa. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES
    The Senate Education Committee will tackle some high-profile issues in its final meeting before session.
  10. A police officer confronted an armed student at a Wisconsin high school Tuesday morning and both were wounded, police said. Facebook
    The shooting follows a similar attack at Waukesha South High School in suburban Milwaukee on Monday morning.
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